Part 19: Please stop talkingPart XIX: Please stop talking
After our discovery at the bottom of the Abyss, we need a well-earned break at the Arena.
First up is this pair of Ordu.
They're not too hard, but it's getting to the point where you need a pretty high dodge/block skill to survive these encounters, plus my damage output is being minimized by heavy armor. Hopefully I can get some better weapons soon.
Still, it's no fuss to kill these guys.
We're rewarded with a new rank: Executioner! On to the next victim.
The Butcher, indeed, hits like a freight train, but our armor is tough enough to withstand it. I'm using the scimitar for higher damage.
Mack is a tough fight, so we'll put him on hold for now.
Instead, we're going to the Slums to fight an absolute motherfucker: Hermon.
: I'll pay.
: 1,000 imperials for passing through?
I don't care for your attitude, sir!
: Fuck off. That's your first and final warning.
There are a few things to know about this fight: First, coming in with under 8 in block/dodge is suicidal. Second, poison, sharpening stones, and bombs are essential. Third, patience is key. Fourth, the outcome is dependent mostly on luck.
Get ready for a lot of savescumming, because this fight is hard. The arena opponents so far look like child's play compared to this shit. Hermon is the primary target here, because he will try to damage your armor, and if that happens, his buddies will pick you off in no time. By the way, if the fight begins and you don't go first? Reload an earlier save and try again, because you're not winning.
My strategy (such as it is), is to crit strike Hermon with a bomb so he gets knocked off his feet, then attack him and hopefully inflict bleed/poison so he dies within the next turn. If you're lucky, you can kill him outright. Usually, I'm not so lucky. Oh, and if you don't crit Hermon with the bomb? Reload a save, because you're not winning.
Even with Hermon dead, it's still a beast of an encounter. His friends will cripple you, crit you, entangle you with nets, hit you with bleeding, and so on. Bring healing salves.
This is from one of my more successful attempts. I dodged attacks four times in a row, only for the archer to kill me on the next turn. Fuckers.
After the eighth attempt to kill these guys, I pull out the scimitar. One good thing about two-handed weapons, besides the increased damage, is you can hit opponents that are diagonally opposite of you. I don't know why this isn't possible with one-handed weapons, but whatever.
I can't stress how important luck is here. After hitting a wall with this group, suddenly everything clicked. My dodges were on point, my armor stayed intact, the enemies were less aggressive -- it's like the universe took pity on me.
Death Count: 37 (If we're counting reloads as deaths, it's more like 67, but fuck that.)
Oh hey, it's Neros's place. We have a package for him.
: I have a package for you. You owe me 3,000 imperials.
Great, now I have to worry about the fucking Unabomber.
You have no idea.
: Do you really think that I'd try to blow up your boss while standing next to him? I got played, but if you help me find the fucker, I promise that he'll pay for this.
Before we exact revenge, there's one more area of Maadoran to explore.
: What's this area?
: How did you end up here?
We'll see more of Clemens later.
The temple area has some merchants and the Forty Thieves HQ. Other than that, there's not much here.
Time for a house call.
Man, you're gonna be in a world of hurt.
: He killed a man and almost got me killed.
: And if I don't see it this way?
You know what I hate more than nearly dying from an explosion? Stuck-up nobles.
: Justice must be served!
Before going to Harran's Pass, let's check out Inferiae -- which has a big Eye of Horus?
Nothing strange about this place, no sir.
Old crone? Check.
: So, this is your garden?
I get the feeling she doesn't like us.
: It holds answers to many questions.
: Tell me about the relics.
: You mentioned wisdom? Or was it fear?
: What's wrong with hope?
: Not everyone needs a selfish reason to help someone. Being able to is the only reason they need. They've helped us once, they can do it again!
Maybe she has a point.
: You seem to know a lot about the town life for someone who lives in the middle of nowhere.
Fuck. Hang on...
: Water? In the desert?
: It seems you've adapted well to the desert.
: The sacrifice?
I hope she's talking about goats and such.
: I'll take my chances.
This conversation unfolds in a few different ways. If you choose certain options (specifically, the "it's a small price to pay for their help" option) and have high Persuade, you can convince Azra to reveal the location of the temple and how to get there. Some choices will let you leave the village safely. Otherwise, it ends like this:
We've made our choice; now we endure the consequences.
Ah. She wasn't talking about goats.
Let's go say hi.
: Why do you kill intruders?
: Wait! What if your master comes back? You won't kill him, would you?
Ha! This creature can't comprehend my unassailable logic!
The Guardian (as it's called) looks imposing, but compared to Hermon it's like crushing an ant. It has high defense and HP and attacks twice in one turn, but other than that...
The Guardian crumbles to pieces on defeat.
We receive its core as a reward.
We could get out the way we came in, but we haven't seen the rest of this place.
Downstairs, we find what appears to be a tiny star floating in a chamber. Compared to what we've seen, this is practically mundane.
Always, always tamper with strange devices.
It works! No idea what this does, though.
Ah, it powers a portal. Of course.
We're back in Maadoran.
We can likely use this in the chamber connected to the well. That's for another time.
The message is hastily written; many words are smudged or faded. The magus was dying from wounds sustained during the attack on his tower, so clarity wasn't at the top of his priorities.
"Balzaar attacked... has fallen. He's too powerful. I couldn't stop him. All my defenses... He's coming for you... You must do it before it's too late. Don't hesitate for the price we have already paid is too great. ...wait any longer, there will be nothing left."
Balzaar? Is that the Balzurath the storyteller talked about?
Next to the dead magus is this glove. No idea what it's used for, but hey, free artifact.
The elevator takes us outside.
Guess we should deal with the Ordu problem Gaelius has.
: What business is that of yours?
: I'm a loremaster. A trader told me that he saw some ruins a few days northeast from here. I want to get there before anyone else does.
Ugh, stuck in an encampment with a bunch of meatheads.
He has another ancient Nintendo power glove. We don't need a second one, but I'm buying it anyway because of what he offers next.
Power modules! Yes, please.
: Tell me about the Ordu.
: Tell me about the elements.
: Tell me about the mutations.
I talk to the quartermaster and buy some sharpening stones. That's all of note here.
We're going to wait until dark and then sneak out.
We made it. Looks like your typical nomadic settlement.
Next to the khan's yurt -- excuse me, ger, is this lady.
: Yes. I have many questions.
Get ready for a lore dump.
: Who are you?
What's with these harsh ritual punishments? How about a pat on the back and a "Better luck next time"?
Blah blah blah, our people are so awesome, blah blah.
: Did this Tngri ever have a name?
Nope, never heard of him.
Pay attention to this next part.
: This shaman Adad, who was he?
: What happened to these seven Tngri?
Enough story time. We have a mission to accomplish.
Probably shouldn't piss this guy off.
: It's waiting for you in Maadoran.
: Can't you do something about it?
: What else can convince your men?
: Why does Belgutai oppose you?
: Was anyone else ever honored?
: Who was that shaman?
: Hadad? Abu Hassan Ibn Hadad? The Magus?
Yes, it turns out it was Ibn Hadad all along -- which makes the tale about binding Tngri into human bodies much more relevant.
No, I think you'll find the shaman was more than a messenger.
: How long ago was it?
: What do your stories say about the Great War?
Fuck me, we're full of questions today.
: Do your stories say anything about the Qantari?
: Why did you accept Gaelius' offer?
: You speak our language well.
Thank god we can get out of this conversation. For a people that don't like outsiders, the Ordu are a chatty bunch.
Time to deal with Mr. Grumpy Pants.
: They say you're the best. I have a mind to test it.
Belgutai isn't a pushover. He's quick, hits hard, and likes to inflict Bleed. He can take you to 0 HP in seconds.
Imagine my surprise when I killed him on my first try. He has a really nice shamshir I'll be using for the time being.
: Belgutai is dead. I killed him.
If we take Thorgul's offer, we end up fighting a bunch of reinforcements, so fuck that.
: It would take too long. Bass has probably fortified the pass by now and sent for reinforcements. If they arrive, we will be stuck at the pass.
Saying no gives us the same outcome as staying and partying, so...
: Yes, I think so.
: How do you know about these crates?
: Alright, I'll do it.
We're trapped in a small room surrounded by Imperial Guards. Despite that, this fight wouldn't be so hard if it weren't for one thing.
That goddamned archer.
The three melee enemies can be handled fairly quickly at this point, but that fucking archer will stand there, arrows dealing double digit damage every turn until you're dead, and then he'll give you his little archer smirk, satisfied because he killed you with a fucking bow. I hate that bastard.
Death Count: 42
I use bombs liberally here. I hate wasting them, but in this situation it's the best strategy.
Give me a fucking palace, Gaelius. I earned it.
Gaelius is personified at this point.
: How did the tower survive the attack?
: Is it safe now?
I dunno, Gaelius. We've found things that would surprise you.
This object will get us into Zamedi, which is where we're going in the next update!
Next Time: Revelations at Zamedi